Lion Air exec suspended as searchers investigate pings

A policeman helps a woman who is a relative of a passenger of Lion A

A "black box" from the Lion Air jet that plummeted into the Java Sea after taking off from Indonesia earlier this week has been recovered.

Divers recovered a flight recorder Thursday from the crashed airliner on the seafloor, a crucial development in the investigation into what caused the 2-month-old plane to plunge into Indonesian seas earlier this week, killing all 189 people on board.

At a news conference, Muhammad Syaugi of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency said the identification process was proceeding as quickly as possible, but said it was unlikely the remains of all passengers would be found.

Radar data shows that the plane did not turn back, and air traffic controllers lost contact with it soon after, Yohanes Sirait, spokesman for AirNav Indonesia, the agency that oversees air traffic navigation, told CNN.

Local TV stations showed images of the black box - which refers to the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder - being transferred from an inflatable dinghy to a larger ship.

"We're going to see it ourselves on location and hopefully that is the main body of the plane that we've been looking for".

Tjahjanto said a team will be deployed to the identified location to confirm the findings.

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Late yesterday, Indonesia's Transport Minister said the technical director of Lion Air and staff who approved Monday's flight had been removed from duty by the ministry.

More items belonging to the passengers of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet plane have also been retrieved by the rescuers, he said.

The flight data recorder contains technical information about the flight, detailed by the plane's onboard flight systems. "Engineers in Jakarta received notes and did another fix before it took off" on Monday. In 2013, one of its Boeing 737-800 jets missed the runway while landing on the resort island of Bali, crashing into the sea without causing any fatalities among the 108 people on board.

None of the victims were identified, even with DNA samples collected from the families. An airplane has two flight recorders, one that captures flight data and another that records the pilot and his co-pilot in the cockpit.

Indonesia's Transport Ministry said the Boeing 737-800 plane, which took off from Jakarta about 6.20 a.m., crashed just 13 minutes later.

Boeing said it was providing technical assistance under the direction of Indonesian authorities, while the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is also helping the probe.

It has been involved in a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two Lion Air planes at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The agency lifted the ban in 2016.The European Union similarly barred Indonesian carriers from flying into European airspace from 2007 until June.

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